Date: March 12, 2017
Author: Martin Blake

Perry, Davidson grab Riversdale titles

Hunter Valley star Dylan Perry and the Gold Coast’s Karis Davidson have won the respective men’s and women’s titles at the famous Riversdale Cup tournament in Melbourne.

Perry, 22, was rock solid on the final day, closing with a four-under round of 68 after beginning with a one-shot lead, and bolting the door shut.

He put the exclamation mark on the victory with a delightful, downhill birdie putt at the par-four 18th hole that just trickled over the front edge of the hole.

Perry was 15-under through the four rounds. Another New South Welshman, previous winner Harrison Endycott, was his closest pursuer, also making birdie at the 72nd hole to finish outright second at 12-under, while Western Australia’s Minwoo Lee made a flying finish to finish outright third at 11-under, closing with a 65 and a back nine of 30.

The New South Welshman has previously won the Victorian and Queensland amateur titles, but he had no hesitation putting the storied Riversdale event at the top of the pile. "I'm going to say 'yes','' he said.

Perry took a pragmatic attitude into the final round, promising to play shot-by-shot. "I said to my caddie 'don't worry about it, we'll just play'. All the guys were saying as I went through the last few holes were saying 'well played this week' so I asked the guys the scores. They said I was three or four up at the time. I heard Minwoo was playing well, a couple of guys playing well, but I was trying to play how I play and see what happens.''

Davidson had to overcome a catastrophic triple-bogey six at the very first hole of her round today, finding the green at the par-three but then putting her ball right off the green, then chunking her first chip back up the slope.

At that point the Queenslander was six shots behind the overnight leader, Gabi Ruffels of Victoria, but she slowly reeled the inexperienced Melburnian in, rolling in four consecutive birdies on the front nine.

By the time they reached the eighth hole Davidson had the lead, and while Ruffels moved back into a tie at the top her putter let her down; she had five three-putts for the day including three of the last four holes.

Davidson closed with a 70, three-under for the day, and iced it with a birdie from just beyond three metres at the last. She had lost the outright lead with a three-putt at the 17th, and needed that birdie at the 72nd hole to overtake Japan’s Ayaka Furue, who had posted a one-under total.

But she is a tough competitor, and the 18-year-old Davidson rolled her downhill slider in the side of the cup to win.  "This was one of my goals this year to win this tournament, because I really love playing in it,'' she said later. "All the players are well looked-after and I enjoy the course as well.''

Furue was outright second and was the only other player in the women’s field to break par over the four days, while 16-year-old Ruffels, who had begun with a three-shot lead, posted a 75 to fade into third.